The Secrets of Kaer Maga

Heresy's End

Having delved deep into The Chymists of Life in Death, Throsh discovered the secrets of the tome – the nature of alchemical undead. Written by a heretical sect of the ancient Pharasmin faith, the believers thought to exploit a loophole in Pharasma’s ban on undeath – by eschewing magic for alchemy. By raising the dead with alchemy, they thought to bolster the ranks of Pharasma’s faithful with free labor. Rejected, of course, the heresy was lost to time.

With the knowledge of this lost tome in mind, the group continued their exploration of this level – except for Obama. Weary from the adventure, he swore to meet the group later (particularly to obtain his pay), and set off through the secret exit. The remaining Runelord crypts revealed their secrets to the group, one by one, as they ventured beyond the trapped statues to the ancient tomb beyond. Slaying the defenders, the adventurers collected a small handful of various treasures before turning elsewhere.

Venturing into the northwestern corridors of the level, the group discovered an abandoned set of armor – complete with its skeletal occupant. However, as Fubar disturbed the armor, a massive swarm of hissing, flesh-eating cockroaches began to pour from the joints. Caught off guard, the insects swarmed over Fubar and dragged him to the ground. Rushing to his companion’s aid, Throsh unleashed a gout of flame from his palms, engulfing the cockroaches and dispersing the swarm. The armor, he realized, belonged to men from the Irridian Fold – one of the many strange factions now residing in Kaer Maga.

The group then found themselves in an ancient archive – its tomes preserved on stone, rather than paper. Although fascinating, the group had little time to search the impressive library, and disposed of the archive’s sole guardian before moving on.

They found themselves in a crystalline room – perfectly circular, with a perfect mirror image projected from all sides. Fubar, amazed by the image, pressed his face to the glass – and felt the subtle vibrations of the crystal deep within. The room began to hum, the images spinning about the group – but only for a few moments. The motion stopped, and Throsh set to examining the magics at work. It was a teleportation circle, emanating incredible amounts of conjuration magic. But to where?

They stepped out into the hallway – to find themselves across the hall. The pair of rooms were identical in nature, perfect mirror images of one another. And so was the group. They had transformed – becoming mirror images of themselves. Right hands became left, right eyes became left, and even organs moved from one side of the body to the other. Shocked by the discovery, Roa’Kkad attacked the mirror – discovering that even his mightiest blow could not so much as scratch the mirror. While the others shrugged off the magic, Roa’Kkad continued to be troubled by this change of “heart”.

The next room opened into sudden darkness. Roa’Kkad, as brave as ever, led the way – suffering a small stab wound for his courage. As footsteps led off into the darkness, Throsh felt his way to the next room. Inside, he met Yrix. Describing herself as a “wyrmfolk”, the snake-creature spoke to Throsh from the darkness – offering her services as both a guide and seer. The elf was intrigued by her offer, and indulged her for a few gold. She claimed that the disappearance of bodies was because of the beasts below, crafting another horrific construct from the bodies of the damned. She also protected the trapped doorway leading further into the Ossuary.

With little else to do, the group checked the final doorway – discovering a staircase to the prison levels. With no desire to venture into those depths, the adventurers returned to the surface, victorious. Except they had one matter of business left to settle…

Esme Verisi – the strange zombie-like woman that they had found. Roa’Kkad and Throsh brought the woman to the Freemen, and Roa’Kkad begged his friend for assistance. Agreeing to maintain the secrecy that such brotherhood entitled, the man took Esme, keeping her body from decaying as much as a nonmagical mortal could hope. Vowing to cure the woman from her slavery in unlife and unjust death, Roa’Kkad returned to the Pharasmin Cathedral with his companions.

Valanthe Nerissa was less than happy to hear that the group had been unable to determine the source of the missing bodies. A little upset, but hoping that her hirelings could continue their work, she began to discuss the prospect of compensation. The group was paid for their efforts in securing the level, and she was more than happy to pay for the ancient Pharasmin artifacts recovered. In exchange for the relics, she and the group formed a new, unwritten contract of friendship – she would return to them for help, should she need it; and the party would have her aid in their endeavors, should they need it. As she was about to depart, she was informed of the new secret door.

Appalled that such information was kept from her, she insisted on its immediate closure. The party disagreed, claiming it was their access point to the depths below – they had not finished their business. After much debate, they reluctantly agreed to let Valanthe do her job, under the conditions that they could use the other gateway. Valanthe assured them that she could provide them additional chimes of opening – or other supplies, should they continue to work under Pharasma’s employ…

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Helio

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